Story by Peter Ruicci (Sault Star) | Photo by Terry Wilson (OHLImages)
Hayden Verbeek sees it as a good opportunity.
The Montreal Canadiens traded the former Soo Greyhounds centre to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
Verbeek and a fifth-round draft choice were dealt to Detroit in exchange for veteran NHL defenceman Jon Merrill, a potential unrestricted free agent.
“I’m excited for sure. I’m looking forward to a fresh start,” said Verbeek, who’s spent three seasons as a Canadiens minor-leaguer, after four full seasons with the Greyhounds.
In seven games with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket this season, he had a goal and two assists. Verbeek has also spent time with the Canadiens as a member of their COVID-19 taxi squad.
“I thank the Habs, but I’m looking forward to joining the Red Wings organization,” he added.
Verbeek, who signed with Montreal as an NHL free agent in March of 2018, has been told to report to the Wings AHL farm club in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“I was a little shocked. I was out getting groceries when I got the news,” he told The Sault Star on Sunday.
During his time with the Greyhounds, because of his all-out hustle, the speedy Verbeek became one of the club’s most-popular players.
In 250 Ontario Hockey League games, he produced 59 goals and 77 assists along with a plus-minus of plus-50.
• Detroit acquires Hayden Verbeek, 2021 5th Round pick from Montreal